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Abraham Bolden First Black Secret Service 
Agent For JFK Bolden Was Framed Because He 
Knew To Much 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 

Abraham Bolden (born January 19, 1935) is an American former United States Secret Service agent 
and author. 


Abraham Bolden grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois .[l] After 
receiving a degree in music from Lincoln University of Missouri , [2] 
he began his professional career as an Illinois state trooper . He 
joined the Secret Service in 1960 during the Eisenhower 
administration. In 1961, he became the first African American 
member of the Secret Service's Presidential Protective Division after 
being appointed by President John F. Kennedy . [3] According to 
Bolden, he first met Kennedy on April 28, 1961 while working an 
event at the McCormick Place in Chicago.[4] Bolden said that 
Kennedy personally invited him to join the White House detail. [4] 
He worked in the dual capacities of guarding the President and 
investigating counterfeiting. [5] 

Bolden was arraigned in Chicago on May 20, 1964 on federal 
charges that he had solicited a bribe from a counterfeiting ring that 
he had helped break.[6] He was accused of seeking $50,000 in 
exchange for a secret file on the investigation.^!] The government's 
case rested primarily on the testimony of two men, Frank Jones and Joseph Spagnoli, both facing 

felony charges originating from the same Secret Service 
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The copy of the secret government file on the Spagnoli 
counterfeiting operation that Bolden allegedly put up for 
sale was never recovered, last being seen in the Chicago 
offices of the Secret Service, disappearing before charges 
were brought against Bolden. 

Bolden was not accused of receiving or was he ever found 
to be in possession of any illicit funds from the accused 
* felons who testified against him. He maintained his 
innocence, asserting that he had been framed because he 
planned to expose dereliction among the agents assigned to 
guard Kennedy in front of the Commission. The Secret 
Service denied Bolden's claims. United States Attorney for 

the Northern District of Illinois, Edward Hanrahan , was 
quoted in news reports from May 1964, as calling Bolden' s 
assertion of "overall general laxity" of Secret Service agents 
assigned to the late President Kennedy, and Bolden's belief 
he was prosecuted for doing so, as "fantastic." Hanrahan 
implied Bolden should have brought the charges in 1961. 
Bolden claimed he did just that, to James J. Rowley, the 
head of the Secret Service, but without result. [9] 

Bolden's first jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of conviction, at 
which time presiding judge Joseph Sam Perry issued an 
Allen charge in which he expressed his belief that Bolden 
was guilty but that the jury was free to disregard his 
opinion. The jury remained deadlocked, and Perry declared 
a mistrial on July 11, 1964. In the retrial, Bolden was 
convicted 12-0, and Judge Perry sentenced him to six years 
in prison.[3] Bolden appealed his conviction to the United 
States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit , based in 
part on Perry's Allen charge in the first trial. Bolden claimed 
that the charge was evidence that Perry was not impartial 
and that his failure to recuse himself denied Bolden a fair 

trial. Further, in the second trail before Judge Perry on 

August 12, 1964, the prosecution's case featured testimony 

by indicted counterfeiter Joseph Spagnoli. In his own later trial for counterfeiting, held before the same 
Judge Perry, Spagnoli confessed that he had perjured himself when he testified against Bolden. 
Spagnoli said Prosecutor Richard Sikes had told him to lie. [10] The Appeals Court upheld Bolden's 
conviction in a decision issued December 29, 1965. [8] 



Following his release from prison, Bolden worked as 
a quality control supervisor in the automotive 
industry until his retirement in 2001. [11] 

In January 1978, Abraham Bolden gave testimony on 
his experiences as an agent with the Secret Service to 
investigators of the Select Committee on 
Assassinations of the US House of Representatives . 


The Final Report of that Committee, released in 
March 1979 included these conclusions: "The Secret 
.Service possessed information that was not properly 
(analyzed, investigated, or used by the Secret Service 
in connection with the president's trip to Dallas; in 
addition, Secret Service agents in the motorcade were 
inadequately prepared to protect the president from a 
sniper." [12] 

Bolden was interviewed for the 2006 television 
documentary Conspiracy Files: The JFK 
Assassination based on information in the book 
Ultimate Sacrifice by Lamar Waldron . [13] The 
program asserted that mobster John Roselli was 
responsible for framing Bolden. [13] 

The Echo From Dealy 

In 2008, Bolden published his memoir, 
The Echo From Dealey Plaza. [1 4] He was 
interviewed about the book by NPR's 
Farai Chideya .[15] 

In his memoir, Bolden claimed to have 
overheard Secret Service agents say that 
they would not protect President Kennedy 
from an assassination: 

[President Kennedy] alienated Southerners 
and conservatives around the country, 
most of whom were already suspicious of 
him. In this, the Secret Service reflected 
the more backward elements of America. 
Many of the agents with whom I worked 
were products of the South.... I heard some members of the White House detail say that if shots 
were fired at the president, they'd take no action to protect him. A few agents vowed that they 
would quit the Secret Service rather than give up their lives for Kennedy. [16] 




Bolden 1 s wife, Barbara, died in 2005. [17] 

Portrayals in fiction 

Abraham Bolden appears in the 2011 television miniseries The Kennedys . He is depicted joining the 
President's protective detail and later President Kennedy turns to him as a sounding board during the 
crisis surrounding the 1962 desegregation of the University of Mississippi . Bolden is portrayed by 
Rothaford Gray. 

Further reading 

• Bolden, Abraham (2008). The Echo From Dealey Plaza: The True Story of the First African 
American on the White House Secret Service Detail and His Quest for Justice After the 
Assassination of JFK. Random House Digital, Inc. ISBN 0-307-38201-X . 

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